Cleaning the guitar table

7 easy steps on how to clean a guitar - Guest post

Cleaning the guitar tableGuest post by Alex Frank

The health of your guitar depends on how you clean and condition it. Some guitars were damaged permanently due to neglect. Your guitar will lose its value and become useless if you will not give the proper care. Some guitar owners are having a hard time cleaning and conditioning their guitar due to lack of knowledge.

In this post, we will prove to you that taking care of your guitar is not hard at all. To help you with it below are 7 easy steps on how to clean a guitar fretboard. The bridge and fretboard are the two important components of the guitar require conditioning, cleaning and humidifying.

This is vital because they are usually made of untreated or unfinished wood. Except for maple fretboards which already have finished and require minimal cleaning.

What you need:

  • Soft cloth or old T-shirt
  • Water
  • Guitar polish
  • Glass cleaner
  • Pure Carnauba Wax
  • Distilled
  • Tool to remove strings

Step #1 Remove the Strings

Remove the guitar stringsBefore you start with the cleaning process, you need to remove the strings so it will be much easier to clean your fretboard. If you want to change your strings this is the best time to do it as well. Remove the strings, not at the same time but one by one so you don’t affect with the neck tension on your instrument.

The purpose of removing the strings before cleaning the other parts of the guitar is to avoid any cleaning products to come in contact with the strings. The strings should be free of any polishes, damp cloths or oils that you might use while cleaning.

Step # 2 Clean the Neck and Fretboard

Cleaning the guitar neckOnce the strings are removed, you can start cleaning the neck and the fretboard. Experts recommend that you clean your guitar’s fretboard or fingerboard at least two times a year. So, it will not destroy the natural oils and moisture on your guitar collected from your fingers as you play the guitar. Dampen the soft cloth with distilled vinegar or water and carefully wipe away any dirt or grime you see on the fretboard. To make sure not to over saturate your guitar with water or other cleaning solutions, wring out the dampen cloth as much as possible.

If there is too much dirt on the fretboard, use extra fine steel wool #000 or #0000 to remove them. Cover the guitar pickups if you will be using steel wool as it can get caught to the magnets of your pickups.

For hard to remove spots, you can use the edge of the credit card, a pipe cleaner, a small toothbrush or a damp cloth. For fretboard that has dried out or hairline cracks have formed, you can use a conditioner to remove them. You can also rub one or two drops of oil (almond, linseed oil or mineral) to condition the fretboard. Make sure that you remove any excess oil with a soft, dry cloth.

Step# 3 - Wipe the Body of the Guitar

Cleaning the guitar tableThe next step is to clean the body of the guitar. Start with the front, then back and sides using the same damp cloth. Do not forget to rinse out the cloth so you will not spread the dirt on other areas of the guitar. Wipe the body in circular motions all throughout the body of the instrument. There are some spots that might not come off easily as you wipe the guitar with the cloth. Smudges, dirtier spots or fingerprints may need some moisture, so puff warm breath on your guitar, just like you are cleaning a window. Then, wipe the damp cloth. If in case it does not remove the dirt you can use a water with mild detergent. After cleaning these spots, use a dry cloth to buff it and remove the streaks.

Step# 4 - Wipe the Bridge

After cleaning the fretboard, you need to clean the bridge as well. It is situated on the body of the guitar just below the sound hole, and it supports the strings of the guitar. Apply the same method of cleaning the fretboard, dampen the cloth and wipe down the bridge to get rid of the dirt, grime, and dust. For hard to remove spots, you can use pipe cleaner or toothbrush to remove the scrub away the dirt.

Step #5 – Wipe the Turning Keys

The keys are located at the top of the guitar neck, on the guitar’s headstock. To clean these keys, spray a dry cloth using polish and glass cleaner each key to bring back its natural shine.

Step #6 – Clean the Pickups

Clean the pickups of the guitar using a damp cloth, but in case of rust remove them carefully. Use a rust-dissolving agent in cleaning. You can use a cotton ball with lighter fluid or white pencil eraser. After cleaning the pickups, screw them back and wipe dry using a clean cloth.

Step#7 – Polishing the Finish

Polishing a guitarSome guitar owners suggest that you should not polish the guitar frequently although it looks nice cosmetically, it can affect the sound of your guitar. If you need to polish the guitar, use a pure carnauba wax without solvents or petroleum products. On a dry soft cloth, spray your polish and wipe your guitar gently. For guitar with satin finish, do not buff or polish it. Buffing the guitar with satin finish can make it look blotchy. For vintage guitars, do not polish it.


Hope the above steps was able to help you in cleaning your guitar. Using harmful cleaning products can destroy the natural oil and look of your guitar. It is important that you follow the steps above to maintain the look and sound of your guitar.  If you find this post helpful you can share this with others. If you have suggestions or comments, feel free to write them in the comment box.

Author bio

I’m Alex Frank who has worked sound technology industry for 10 years now. Today, I am an affiliate blogger who likes to educate my audience more about sound technology. Visit Music Instruments Center to find all information about music that you need.

Guest post How to clean a guitar